Troup, LaGrange volleyball teams face off
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
There wasn’t much separating the volleyball teams from Troup and LaGrange, who played a tight, hard-fought match on Wednesday night in LaGrange’s new gym.
In the end, it was Troup’s ability to come up big when the points meant the most that made the difference.
After prevailing 25-19 in the first set, Troup finished things off with a 25-23 victory in the second and final set.
LaGrange had a 22-21 lead in the second set following a Kensley Swift ace, but Troup won four of the next five points to secure the win.
It was tied at 23-23 when Victoria Finley gave Troup the lead with an ace, and the match ended on a misplayed ball by LaGrange.
As has been the case throughout the season, Troup was led by its seniors, Finley, Landen Sheets, Macy Jeter, Savannah Coker and Amauriya Brown.
Brown in particularly made some huge plays for Troup, whether she was making kills at the net, blocking shots, or diving to the floor to make a save.
LaGrange, meanwhile, had a senior-night ceremony before the match began, and Carmen Lynch, Abby Norton, Lindsey Ransone and Hayleigh Seabaugh were recognized.
Tejay Dowden, LaGrange’s head coach, has known the seniors since they were at Gardner Newman Middle School.
“I am so thankful I got to be with the same girls I had in middle school, because it’s such an easy transition for us,” said Dowden. “It’ll be sad to see them go.”
Dowden, knowing how much the players mean to her, had to let someone else do the senior announcements over the public-address system.
“That’s why I couldn’t do the announcing,” she said. “I told them I don’t think I can do this. You’re going to have to help me.”
The Grangers were trying to win their second match in two days, and while they came close, they were unable to make it happen.
“We’ve got to finish,” Dowden said. “That’s the biggest thing. We mess up the little things, and that kills us.”
In the opening set, Troup raced out to a 5-2 lead, but LaGrange tied it at 6-6 on an ace by Danasha Lewis.
After falling behind by two points, the Grangers got within one on a winner by Lauren Park, but the Tigers took control beginning with a winner by Lilly Kate Doughman.
Brown had a block, and Jeter had a service winner to help the Tigers build a 16-10 lead, and Sheets’ kill pushed the lead to 20-12.
Troup maintained at least a six-point lead the rest of the set, and Finley finished things off with a service winner.
The second set was competitive the whole way.
LaGrange had an 8-6 lead on a kill by Katy Beth Bedingfield, but Troup responded with a 5-0 run, with Sheets and Brown providing a spark with back-to-back kills.
Troup went on to take a 13-9 lead on a kill by Finley, but LaGrange hung tough, with Lynch delivering back-to-back service winners to get her team within one.
Back came Troup, with consecutive blocks by Brown and Coker and a service winner by Brown pushing the lead to 16-12.
Once again LaGrange had the answer, with Addie Eiland pounding out a pair of kills during a 4-0 run that tied the set at 16-16.
Back-and-forth it went, and when Eiland came through with a service winner, LaGrange led 20-19.
It was tied at 21-21 when Doughman gave Troup the lead with an ace, but back-to-back kills by Lynch and Norton put LaGrange on top 23-22.
After tying it, Troup took a 24-23 lead on an ace by Finley, and the match ended when a LaGrange player hit the ball into the net.
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